Sometimes it is hard to keep the attention of kids in your ministry. In any children’s ministry setting you will have children with different home-lives and a variety of learning styles. So how do you keep them all focused and interacting at the same time? Here’s a few tips that may help.
1. Try something new.
Kids love surprises. They like it when something totally unexpected happens. You could do something as simple as having a small treat for them. You could have a competition between age groups or between boys and girls, such as who can raise the most money, who can bring the most friends, or who can bring the most coats in to donate to the local shelter. Don’t let your ministry get too predictable, but instead try to keep the kids on their toes. Make them think to themselves, “I wonder what is going to happen this week.
2. Always, always, always have TONS of energy!
If you are excited about what is going on, the kids will be too. Kids are always watching you. I’ve seen this played out first-hand at many camps over the summer. If the blue team’s leader is just sitting there complaining and not having fun, the kids don’t either. If the red team’s leader is jumping up and down, dancing, and engaging with the kids, the kids have much more fun and get more involved. Even if you have a few children who don’t get involved, that’s okay! Be confident they are listening to and watching your example.
3. Teach in different ways.
Every child learns differently. If you only talk about what your lesson is for that day, you are only going to reach about a third of your audience. Depending on the research you are reading, there are three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. If you are teaching a large group, it is a little bit harder to touch on all three learning styles. In small groups it is much easier. When you are teaching, say it, show it, and have the kids do it. For example, if you are teaching them a verse, have them do motions with the words. If you are teaching a story, have them act it out or draw it. Try to find a way to teach the story and hit every learning style.
4. Be interesting!
Children love it when adults go out of their way to make what they are doing more interesting. Dress up as a character from the story. Put a costume on that will help the kids visualize the concept you are teaching. I had a Youth Pastor who was teaching through James. When he got to James 1:23-24, he came out with his hair all a mess and his shirt half tucked-in. He had toothpaste on his face and toilet paper hanging off of his shoe. It was a silly costume, but it kept me engaged, and five years later, I still remember it. Don’t be scared. You work in Children’s Ministry…you are allowed to be crazy now and again.
Prayer is key to everything. Pray before you start teaching. Ask God to teach through you. Pray that He would open your audience’s hearts, eyes, and ears that they may see and hear what God has to say through you. Pray while you are preparing your lesson. Pray, “God how would you have me teach this lesson? How will I keep it interesting and still get the kids to understand?” 1 Thess. 5:13 says, “Pray constantly.” Pray that God would use you to magnify Christ and to glorify His kingdom.